Poisoned Badger Sett?

A friend and I found an artificial badger sett a couple of days ago. We are really worried that it has been poisoned.

Peanuts, Oats and Poison!

Peanuts, Oats and bright blue Poison

A few days ago a friend and I  were asked to check out a “wildlife corridor” on a housing estate about 10 miles away. When it’s known that a new housing development will make it more difficult for an animal (especially a badger) to get to it’s feeding grounds from it’s sett, some forward thinking planners include a “wildlife corridor” through the estate.

The corridor we went to look at was built in about 2000 and was a path enclosed by 6ft fence panels.  Pretty  impossible for us to see if any animals were using it (as it was at the bottom of the gardens – over the fence!) so we went in search of other “signs” around the estate (regularly used animal pathways, dung-pits, snuffle holes, hair where they had gone under fences.. that sort of thing).

Badger Sett Hole

One of the recently digg out badger sett holes

Wandering round the estate we found very few signs of animals until we got to the estate entrance. Where some grass had grown tall we could see a couple of animal paths which looked like badger leading from the road into the ditch. So then we switched our attention to the piece of rough ground on the other side of the road. Planted with trees and shrubs it was hard to penetrate but we followed one of the animal pathways and low and behold it brought us to a badger sett deep in the undergrowth.

I think we both got a bad feeling when we saw it. It was obviously an artificial sett but there were signs of at least three natural holes by the side of the plastic tube-holes. I’ve since found out that the council built this sett. A new council building was built on the site of a badger sett across the road and there was a “need for badgers to be moved to a new sett”. If only it was that simple.

Badger Sett Hole

Another of the holes

The digging was quite recent and the soil was damp and loose.  What was also recent was the food that had been left in at least six places in front of the holes. Peanuts covered in something sweet and sticky, oats and small bright blue pellets.  The food wasn’t indiscriminately scattered it was carefully placed under flat rocks (that badgers could easily move).

Someone knew exactly what they were doing and had purposefully baited the sett.  The blue pellets smelt of candy-floss, but we have no idea what they are. Have another look at the picture below.

Peanuts, Oats and Poison!

We left the sett and drove to my friends house nearby where I used her phone to call the Police. Could someone be trying to poison them? Were the badgers digging up their garden? Were they afraid the badgers had TB?

The Police visited the site (that day) and said they thought it was poison, and handed it over to the authorities to clear it up. Yesterday my car broke down and I couldn’t visit the sett but apparently last night it still hadn’t been removed. Today I will phone the police again and tell them that I’m going to clear it up myself (armed with plastic gloves and a mask!). I can’t bear the thought of other badgers (or any other wildlife – including kids!) eating the it and possibly being poisoned. Then over the next few months we will visit the site regularly to see if there are any signs of “live” badgers.

The investigations continue….


10 thoughts on “Poisoned Badger Sett?

  1. I think someone may be trying to find out the area and routes that the badgers take to prove a welfare point – the blue things may be plastic beads that pass though with the faeces. I would keep an eye on things though – contact a local badger group. On reflection it may be best to keep clearing up this ‘food’ – if it is innocent nothing is lost.

    • Hi John. That’s what we thought when we saw it. We are part of the Dorset Badger Group and know about the plastic beads that are used. The strange thing about this was that it wasn’t plastic, and turned to dust between your fingers. I’m hoping it may be a way of actually dying the poo to check on which badgers are moving about where. This would put my mind at rest. Thanks for your comment.. I will keep you updated.

  2. What can I do about a new badger sett on my property about 100 yards away from where my 2 young children play? They are agressive and we are not sure what to do to relocate them or whatever… any help is appreciated.

    • Hi Jamie. Thanks for leaving a comment. Have you seen the badgers during the day? you say they are aggressive. This isn’t normal for Eurasian UK badgers which tend to be very timid (unless you threaten them, corner them, or they are ill) and only come out in the evening/night. If you are in the UK then badgers are protected by law. You can get into a lot of trouble if you do ANYTHING to their sett (blocking holes or damaging it in any way) or if you harm them. If you want to try and move them along (you don’t say how many you have seen) then you would need to contact Natural England. This PDF download from NE might help http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/wlmsfaqs_tcm6-3859.pdf
      However, if you give me a bit more information, I may be able to help more as I’m a member of the Dorset Badger Group and we often get called to peoples gardens where badgers have decided to set up home. Or you can email me at jane@naturewatched.org I hope this helps. Jane

  3. Hi I am in Broadstone and seem to have a family of badgers living under a cabin in our garden, we think its a mum and three cubs we are really happy to see them and feed them peanuts and dry dog food. One has just been out briefly and it was light and only 21.10pm, usually its very dark and nearer 11.00. think it may have been one of the cubs out too early.

    • That’s very exciting… and only down the road from me! I’ve heard about lots of badgers in Broadstone. I’d love to see them. Enjoy your visitors. Jane

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